The 11 Scariest Movies of the Last 11 Years (part two)
For Part One, follow this link – http://govideogainesville.com/?p=621
The Strangers (2008)
Director: Bryan Bertino
What’s scarier – knowing someone is outside your home trying to get you? Or not knowing that someone is already inside your house, watching you, waiting for a chance to do something horrible.The Strangers is a movie that succeeds by being quiet instead of loud, and by letting things happen in the periphery instead of leaping out into your face.
For me, the most insidiously scary movies are the ones that aren’t afraid to be vague. The more specific something is, the more fully illuminated it becomes, and thus the less scary it is. Case in point, Hannibal Lecter. Every movie told us more about Hannibal the Cannibal, and in each movie he got less and less scary. Evil is never so clearly defined (except in hindsight) and The Strangers knows this, and so while you are getting caught up in the WHAT of the movie, you are also trying to figure out the WHY.
Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are going to a remote cabin for a romantic weekend. Once there, three mysterious masked figures start stalking them, teasing them, and hunting them. That’s it, that’s the whole movie in a nutshell. The puzzle is trying to figure out WHO these figures are, WHAT they want, WHY they picked these two victims, and WHERE on Earth did they find masks so creepy they make me want to pee my pants a little bit.
The Strangers shows that the power of a horror film is in the atmosphere more than the story. It’s a white-knuckler from start to finish, with some solid jumps, and a deeply disturbing undertone of how random evil can be.
Paranormal Activity (2009)
Director: Oren Peli
In horror movies, only one thing really matters – being scary. If a movie is scary enough, nothing else can stand in its way. No-name actors? No problem. A budget of fifteen bucks? No problem. Limited sets, bare-bones special effects, a nonexistent story – none of these things matter if the scares are good. Paranormal Activity is proof positive of what I’m saying.
In fact, if done properly, all of these so-called negatives can actually work in the film’s favor. So it went with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Blair Witch Project, and so it goes here. In Paranormal, the absolutely lack of anything resembling a budget gives the film a realness that really cranks up the fear factor in the second half.
A couple lives together in a typical suburban castle. She has had some problems in the past, and those problems seem to be returning, in the form of unexplained noises, lights going on and off; you know, the whole haunted house trip. And yet something about this doesn’t seem typical. It doesn’t seem like just another haunted house movie. It seems like… god help me I know this is a movie but it seems like something bad is really stalking these people. The human element is so important in horror movies – its not enough to have a startling moment, to generate real fear there needs to be someone to care about, someone you don’t want to be claimed by a malevolent ghost.
Paranormal Activity is as simple and stripped-down a film as is on this list. That simplicity is what gives it power. Well that and the ending, which is flat-out creepy as hell.